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NBA: ‘Best in the world’ Nikola Jokic has to win MVP, says Denver Nuggets’ Christian Braun



Denver Nuggets’ Christian Braun believes team-mate Nikola Jokic deserves to be named as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2023/24 season.

Jokic is currently averaging 26.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and nine assists per game this season.

The Nuggets won the NBA for the first time last season and currently top the Western Conference.

“He’s the best player in the world, there’s no question about that,” Braun told BBC Sport.

Serbian Jokic, 29, is a two-time MVP winner, having won the crown in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons before the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid won it last year.

Jokic is statistically the NBA’s most efficient player this season and was named as the Western Conference’s player of the month for the joint October and November award.

“He’s been the best player in the world for a while. I think he deserves it, it’s just the work he puts in every single day. He’s an amazing player and he definitely deserves to win the MVP,” said Braun.

“He’s an amazing player, he’s a good guy, he’s a great team-mate, I just hope everybody appreciates his greatness.”

Braun is enjoying his second year in the NBA after winning the championship with the Nuggets last season, a year after winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) crown with Kansas, making him only the fifth player in NBA history to win the NCAA and NBA in back-to-back years.

Braun, 22, is hoping to become just the second player to win the NCAA and two consecutive NBA titles in three straight years at the end of this season.

“That’s the goal. I want this next one even more than I wanted the last one,” Braun added. “I’m extremely motivated right now and I think the team is in a good spot in the one seed. I think mentality wise, we’re in a good spot too.

“I’m definitely confident we can go back-to-back. We’ve got all the pieces we need, as long as we got that guy Nikola and then Jamal [Murray].

“I think we’re still hungry, we still have that drive to win, we have that motivation to win. As long as we’re healthy, I think we can beat everybody.”

The Nuggets’ final nine games of the regular season start this weekend.

They face Western Conference rivals the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday (01:00 GMT) before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday (20:30 GMT).

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